UPSC - Indian Statistical Service & Indian Economic Service

If you have always prided yourself on your mathematical abilities, and economics is your favorite subject, then the Indian Economics Service and the Indian Statistical Service beckon you.

Economist are concerned with the organization, utilization and distribution of productive and financial recourses nationally and internationally, by studying political, industrial and social relationships.

Statisticians are concerned with the design of experiments, questionnaires, and surveys, and with the collection of data, analysis and interpretation of results.

If you are studying to become an Economist of a Statistician, you would have considered mainly openings in the industry after you master's degree. Here in an insight into how you could play an important role in major policy decision of the government by joining as officers of prestigious Government of India services.

As an officer of the Indian Economic Service (IES) or Indian Statistical Service (ISS), you can be posted to major cities, commercial centers, as functionaries of the planning boards, departments of institutional finance, commerce, economic affairs, industry, agriculture, stock exchanges, etc. You could also be with the Planning Commission, the National Sample Survey Organization., Central Statistical Organization and other such organizations/agencies working in the area of economic policy formulation and statistical information. The work can be both challenging and satisfying as you are always dealing with actual and anticipated changes inter-related to economic activity national as well as global and trying to maintain a balance despite various upheavals.


If you are between 21-30 years as on 1.2.2000 (upper age limit relaxation of five years for SC/ST, three years for OBC) you can apply for the IES or the ISS examination conducted by the Union Service Public Commission.

To apply for the IES , you must have obtained a postgraduate degree in economics/applied economics. business economics/isometrics. If you hold a postgraduate degree in statistics/applied statistics then you are eligible to apply for the ISS. A candidate can apply for any one of these service only.


A written examination is followed by a personal interview (of those candidates who qualify in the written exam).

The written examination carries a maximum of 1,000 marks. For IES, papers are : general economics I, II and III and Indian economics. For ISS papers are statistics I,II,III and IV, apart from English and general studies.

Salient Features :

Each paper is of three hours duration, of the conventional essay type, set only in English. Standard of the papers in general English and general studies will such as is expected of a graduate of an Indian university. The general studies paper has a wide coverage. Questions range over the subjects-history of India, Indian polity, geography, science and current events. In economics/statistics knowledge of the Master's degree is expected. It is expected that candidates appearing for the exam will be conversant with Indian problems in the field(s) of economics/statistics.


Superficial knowledge will not suffice for any of the papers especially not for economics or statistics. Study thoroughly from text books and also practice writing model answers. For the General Studies papers, you need to gather information as well as put in a lot of practice in writing. The approach during the answering process has to be analytical, precise, logical and systematic.
Basics preparation must be from good textbooks, additional backup can be from a variety of sources-journals, newspapers. topical essays, guidebooks, etc.


Those who clear the written examination, are called by the Commission for a viva voce, carrying 200 marks. The interview aims to assess the suitability of the candidate for the service applied for :

You need :

General awareness of current events.
Communication skills, self assurance/self confidence.
Initiative and capacity for leadership
Intelligent analysis of national and international events
Balanced judgment
Mental alertness


For these services, you need to have an interest in politics and social affairs; analytical powers; resilience to persevere when events prove research and theories wrong, when suggestions are being ignored; ability to explain complex research findings to lay people.

At the bureaucratic level, the need is for patience, scrupulous attention to detail, sense of responsibility; willingness to take orders, ability to work both independently and as a team for successful adjustment in the service.



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